Business intelligence on the double

After a successful soft launch, QlikTech has officially arrived and expects to do brisk business.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  July 12, 2008

After a successful soft launch, QlikTech has officially arrived in the region, and expects to do brisk business. ACN caught up with its CEO and senior executives.

Business intelligence is renowned as being one of the most complex projects an enterprise can undertake, involving data cleansing and consolidation, lengthy deployment, integration with existing applications, detailed analysis - and at the end, quite possibly a nervous breakdown by at least one systems engineer.

It is therefore somewhat surprising to come across a company that promises a fully-fledged BI implementation in days, from installing the software to delivering the first report.

Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion – these companies have failed, most of the projects they’ve done have failed.

QlikTech is such a company - busy talking up its QlikView software - and the first reaction suggests it is some sort of con, or possibly a joke.

But the QlikTech team is completely serious.

"Are we making something up, or is this a true story?" asks Lars Bjork, CEO of QlikTech. "A lot of business intelligence software is very complex - and this is where we step in. We've taken a different approach, by putting the end user at the centre of the universe. If it's simple for the end user, it is going to be used.

"If you look at the traditional players we compete against, they have very lengthy installations, they always cost millions of dollars, two out of three projects are unsuccessful.

What we do instead is, we do it in ten days - you don't have to spend millions, you can spend a few hundred thousand dollars. And, as far as we know, every one of our users is happy," he says, adding that in its 15 years of operation, only one customer has ever asked for its money back.

Bjork and other senior executives from QlikTech were in the UAE last month to launch QlikView officially in the Middle East. The vendor has been operating through its partner International Computing Solutions Middle East (ICS ME) since December last year, but decided to have an official launch after strong initial success.

"We've only been operating for a few months, but we've already signed some big-name clients. We think it's the right time to make the region aware of the incoming product," says Azam Dabbagh, managing director of ICS ME.

He explains how his company came to be a regional partner for the vendor: "QlikView helped me - we've been in the software industry since 2001, and we have applications to manage archives, document management and workflow.

So we needed to do analysis on our processes - who is doing what, when and what if we do this? It actually answered our needs in these areas - and I thought there was a whole lot more it could do."

Among the customers already signed up to QlikView are the Juma Al Majid Group, Adnoc, Sharjah International Airport and Emirates Post. For Juma Al Majid, Dabbagh boasts that within three days the group was using QlikView across 25 different business units.

The speed of deployment, cost and satisfaction levels are clearly extremely bold claims to make compared to traditional BI vendors, but the firm goes further.

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